The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.
hoosiersftw on the premium forum writes: In the opinion of the ITH staff, what are reasonable expectations for this team? An improved B1G record? A return to the NCAA tournament? More?
For this question, I solicited the opinion of ITH co-founder Ryan Corazza as well beat writer Jordan Littman. Corazza: “I think a return to the tourney qualifies as reasonable, which would likely mean an improved Big Ten record.” And Littman: “Well firstly, I think a reasonable expectation for this team would be a return to being regarded for its shooting. This year’s squad has many more capable shooters than last year’s, and multiple in-game scoring droughts last season certainly did not help the Hoosiers. As far as results-based expectations are concerned, though, it’s a bit difficult to say as nobody has seen this team in action. And 60 percent of the entire roster has never even played a game in the cream and crimson. That said, though, there always is a pressure for Indiana to make the NCAA tournament, and I think that also is an expectation for this season.”
Assuming Indiana improves its Big Ten record, it should be in contention for a NCAA tournament bid. That would mean it would have at least eight conference wins and if you reasonably assume ten non-conference wins, 18 wins (at minimum) going into the Big Ten tournament at least gives the Hoosiers a chance. I think getting back to the NCAA tournament is certainly reasonable to expect. — Alex Bozich
Mike Stepp on Facebook writes: What’s the latest status of the Jeremiah April injury? And if healthy what kind of role can we expect him to play this season?
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Collin Hartman.
Collin Hartman’s freshman season at Indiana ended with a whimper rather than a bang.
Brought in by Indiana coach Tom Crean to be a shooter on a team that desperately needed them, Hartman played the first two games of the Hoosiers’ season as the first player off the bench. But after that, Hartman rarely saw action on the court, amassing just 16 minutes of play during the entire Big Ten season.
Perhaps he wasn’t aggressive enough in the opportunities he was given. But it was expected he would have the entire offseason to work on his game and gain more confidence on the court heading into his sophomore season.
That never happened.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Devin Davis.
As questions still linger about just what Hanner Mosquera-Perea will bring to Indiana’s frontcourt, Devin Davis enters the 2014-2015 campaign as perhaps the Hoosiers’ closest thing to a known commodity.
Offense wasn’t a strong suit of his game last season as a freshman, and it’s unlikely Davis will be in line for a featured offensive role this year. What Davis may lack in height, he makes up for with a strong frame — putting on about 10 pounds of muscle this offseason — to bang in the post and muscle for rebounds. Which, along with finishing the opportunities he’s given, might be all the Hoosiers really need out of him in the frontcourt this season with its host of scoring options on the perimeter.
Davis attempted just 18 field goals over five games in Canada, but made an impressive 14 of them to shoot 77.8 percent for the trip. He also returns as the team’s top offensive (11.4 offensive rebounding percentage) and defensive (21.5 defensive rebounding percentage) rebounder among regulars. Davis ripped down 16 boards in 19 minutes during Indiana’s first game in Canada. With Indiana lacking in the rebounding department heading in this season, it’s an encouraging sign. Though, Davis would have just three rebounds in 22 minutes the next game.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Stanford Robinson.
If there was one way of defining Stanford Robinson’s value as a freshman last season, it came in his free throw numbers.
The 6-foot-4 guard got to the free throw line as much as anyone on Indiana’s roster during Big Ten action last season, outside of Yogi Ferrell, as Robinson proved to be effective in getting to the rim and causing opponent foul trouble.
Heading into this season, Robinson will continue to hold value in that role, especially on a team that plans on moving the ball quickly and effectively, with the ball moving in and out of the paint. And over the offseason, Indiana coach Tom Crean said Robinson is becoming more reliable in that role.
“Stan’s gaining a level of consistency that he has not had,” Crean said on July 15. “His body’s different. His conditioning and energy are different and it’s not because he’s doing more. It’s because he’s smarter.”
During Indiana’s preseason trip to Canada, Robinson led the Hoosiers in free-throw attempts, suggesting he was aggressive as anyone in trying to get to the basket.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Troy Williams.
If the Hoosiers are to make a return trip to the NCAA tournament, a sophomore leap from Troy Williams could go a long way in making it a reality.
Coming into Tom Crean’s program last summer from Oak Hill Academy, Williams’ athleticism and love of the home run play were never in doubt. But as the 2013-2014 season went along, the Virginia product suffered from a prolonged case of freshman-itis. He tried to do too much and was often too fast with the ball in his hands (24.8 turnover percentage). While his 2-point field goal percentage led the team (56.9 percent) thanks to a nice ability to score at the rim, his free throw shooting (67.6 percent) and 3-point shooting (20.7 percent) suffered. Williams missed assignments on defense and lacked awareness at times on both sides of the ball.
The good news?
Crean has proven if a young, raw player puts in the time and commitment to his program, he’ll get better. And on the Canada trip, Williams indeed appears to be sporting an improved all-around game.
He stuffed the statsheet during the five-game tour (18.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in 27.8 minutes per game) and revealed a left-hand injury that prevented him from using both hands during last season is a thing of the past. While Williams’ shot so far appears improved, his greatest chance at success on offense may be attacking off the dribble and scoring off the baseline. And an improved cast of shooters around him may give him more space to do so. Improved decision-making as he breaks down the defense should lead to a) less turnovers and b) a higher assist rate.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Emmitt Holt.
Adding a player in late August, particularly a freshman, isn’t common in college basketball, but that’s exactly what happened with Indiana and Emmitt Holt.
The 6-foot-7, 225 pound forward from Rochester, New York had originally opted to reclassify to the 2015 and attend Vermont Academy with the hopes of growing his game and his recruitment.
But Indiana’s need for additional frontcourt help led new assistant coach Chuck Martin to inquire with Holt about taking a visit to Bloomington and moving back to the 2014 class. Holt made his visit to Bloomington in late August and committed while on the trip.
The decision to add Holt, who averaged 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game as a senior at Webster Schroeder High School, should give the Hoosiers another option in the frontcourt who can help right away, particularly on the glass.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Jeremiah April.
The midseason departure of Luke Fischer and subsequent decision by Noah Vonleh to enter the 2014 NBA Draft left Indiana in need of front line depth last spring.
Spring recruiting, with the exception of a few top flight guys who wait to sign each year, can boost the stock of lower rated prospects as schools move quickly to fill roster spots. In the case of Jeremiah April, his commitment was a major surprise because he came from off the radar.
April, a 6-foot-11, 240 pound center, who is from Joliet, Illinois, played last season at Westwind Prep in Phoenix, Arizona. His recruitment picked up last spring when IU, Arizona State, Marquette and Washington State all offered scholarships. Originally a member of the 2013 class, April did a postgraduate year at Westwind Prep and averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds, according to coach Jai Steadman.
“He just turned 18 and he’s got huge upside. He can score, he’s played against the best,” Steadman told Inside the Hall back in April. “He’s athletic, runs the floor, has a high motor and high basketball IQ. He should be ready to go.”
But unfortunately for April, his career at Indiana hasn’t gotten off to a smooth start. He missed all five of IU’s games in Canada with a left ankle injury. Minutes in those exhibition games would have been valuable for April, who from most indications is going to need time to develop into a reliable contributor.